Identifying at-risk children who may be missing, sexually abused or exploited is at the centre of a new pilot project between the Canada Border Services Agency and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
The Manitoba project will enhance an officer’s knowledge and training for identifying situations involving missing, sexually abused and exploited children at the border.
“The work of Canada Border Services Agency officers intersects with many of the issues our agency is involved with every day, so this is a natural fit,” said Christy Dzikowicz, director of Missing Children Services at the Canadian Centre.
“Whether it’s a child abduction or protecting a child at risk of being sexually abused or exploited, we are proud to work together to increase the protection of children at our borders.”
The Canadian Centre will provide support to officers with specific cases where they must intervene, such as abduction and family reunification or instances where children or youth may be at-risk of sexual exploitation.
The project will also better enhance public knowledge of missing children and travelling safely with children abroad.
“Protecting and identifying missing children is a matter that is close to the hearts of our employees. As Canada’s first point of contact, our officers play a key role in identifying missing children and protecting at-risk children who arrive at our borders,” said Kim R. Scoville, regional director general, prairie region, CBSA.
“We remain vigilant in confirming their identity and the identity of those traveling with them. Working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection will further enhance our capabilities to protect our most vulnerable travellers, our children.”
Anyone with information about suspicious cross-border or illegal activity is encouraged to call the CBSA border watch line at 1-888-502-9060.
Wednesday is International Missing Children’s Day.